As a regular street-outreach activist, the range of ridiculous objections used by meat eaters to discredit the vegan movement is astounding. But seeing as it’s April Fools Day, I thought we should take a moment to reflect on some of the amazingly ludicrous excuses that are so bizarre, they can easily be interpreted as a joke (yes, some really are THAT silly!).
1) Plants feel pain too… what about them?
To anyone sincerely raising this point, can you honestly say peeling a potato or mowing your lawn is the equivalent to hurting an animal? The truth is, plants lack a brain and central nervous system making them unable to feel pain. Animals, on the other hand, are sentient beings just like us, who flee when scared, cry out when they are hurt and have an instinctive desire to live. Every vegan gets this comment at least once and it’s always the same face-palm moment when having to explain these obvious facts. But beyond sentience, the quantity of plants required to feed the farmed animals you eat is far more than opting to eat the plants directly. So, for arguments sake, if this is honestly what you believe, then being vegan is still the kindest way to live. What else you got?
2) If I don’t eat animals, they will overpopulate the earth!
Run for your lives! THE COWS ARE COMING!! We are already overpopulated by farmed animals, it’s just somehow well hidden. The absurd number of land animals forcibly bred each year is approximately a whopping 60 billion. Compared to the significantly smaller 7.5 billion humans that are alive today, the scale of animal agriculture becomes scary to even comprehend. Since it is not a natural process and the massive quantity is due to humans breeding the animals for food, when the demand for animal products goes down, so does the number that are bred. The numbers do not increase. Do not fear the cowpocalypse!
3) If I don’t eat animals, they will go extinct – I like seeing them in the fields.
Personally, I prefer seeing them in sanctuaries. For those so concerned about extinct species, perhaps learning that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, will be enough to convince you to go for the plant-based food instead! Ironically, this objection usually follows on from the previous excuse arguing that animals will overpopulate the earth! Paying for animals to be killed so that they don’t die out…makes sense? It truly sounds like the animals’ best interest is at heart- not! Farmed animals have been selectively bred to the point it is unlikely they would survive in the wild, but luckily, there are amazing places like ‘Brinsley animal rescue’ run by volunteers and funded by donations. You can find out more about the amazing work they do here.
I suppose basing our behaviour and choices on cavemen, who, you know… lived in caves, is a sensible idea. Maybe our ancestors did need to eat animals to survive at one stage as a dense source of calories, but now living in modern, civilised society with an abundance of delicious plant foods, why would we still choose to cause harm to animals?
A follow up question I sometimes get asked is how we needed meat for evolution and the development of the human brain. Well, let’s break it down. For us to eat animals, we had to be clever enough to develop tools, learn how to make fire and discover that to make meat safe to eat, it needed to be cooked in the fire. There is a timeline problem in this reasoning! We must have had reasonably big brains to learn all this – duh!
5) Humans can’t survive without animal products
And finally, the pièce de résistance, humans can’t survive without eating animals. Ha! Surely you’re aware vegans exist, right? Who do you think is writing this blog post! I can assure you I am not a walker (walking dead fan alert!). The British (and American) Dietetic Association even state that a balanced vegan diet can be enjoyed by children and adults, including during pregnancy and breastfeeding so you need not worry! Veganism can be an extremely healthy way to live, is much better for the planet and of course the animals. No more foolish excuses, it’s time to go vegan!
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